Prof Jonathan Chapman

Jonathan Chapman

arts research University of Brighton

Scholarly biography and interests

Jonathan Chapman is Professor of Sustainable Design, Director of Design Research Initiatives and Course Leader of the MA Sustainable DesignProfessor Chapman's research into sustainable design – and product life extension in particular – has advanced product design and business thinking in a range of settings, from Sony, Puma and Philips to the House of Lords and the UN. 

His research tackles our throwaway society by developing radical design strategies for longer-lasting products, materials and user experiences — an approach he calls, 'emotionally durable design'. He first established this theory in his monograph, Emotionally Durable Design: Objects, Experiences & Empathy (Routledge, 2005). Today, Chapman's theory of emotionally durable design represents a core sustainable design strategy, and is widely adopted by professional designers, academic researchers and educators worldwide. The book is considered an essential point of reference for anyone working at the intersection of product design, user experience and sustainability.

Chapman's work generates significant media attention, including New York Times, The Guardian, The Independent, and BBC Radio 4 (Something Understood, Material World, Click-On and The Today Programme). The New Scientist described him as a 'mover and shaker' and a 'new breed of sustainable design thinker'. In 2008 he was invited to stand before the House of Lords and present formal evidence as part of their Enquiry into Waste Reduction; advising on the development of EU environmental policies for the design and disposal of electronic products. He is a member of several sustainability advisory boards, including Puma, D&AD and the Design Museum.

Professor Chapman is a sustainable design theorist, consultant and educator whose work seeks to reveal the behavioural phenomena that shape patterns of consumption and waste. Engaging with issues of design, ecology and the human condition, he employs design research, teaching and consultancy as a simultaneously creative, critical and strategic activity, placing it within a wider cultural and philosophical debate that draws upon sociological, ecological, anthropological, psychological and consumer studies. The results of this work shed new light on the complex and thorny nature of our contemporary engagement with material culture. In so doing, Chapman maps a new intellectual territory to enable a deeper engagement with the sustainability agenda - grappling with the knotty problems of design, materiality, human behaviour and sustainability to provide timely reassessments of ethics and design in an age of over consumption. 

Research activity 

Number of items: 19.

Chapman, Jonathan (2014) Designing Meaningful & Lasting User Experiences In: Moran, A. and O'Brien, S., eds. Love Objects: Emotion, Design & Material Culture. Bloomsbury Academic, London, pp. 137-148. ISBN 9781472517197

Chapman, Jonathan (2014) Prospect, seed and activate: advancing design for sustainability in fashion In: Fletcher, K. and Tham, M., eds. Routledge Handbook of Sustainability and Fashion. Routledge International Handbooks . Routledge, Oxford, UK, pp. 74-81. ISBN 9780415828598

Chapman, Jonathan (2013) Meaningful Stuff: Towards longer lasting products In: Karana, E., Pedgley, O. and Rognoli, V., eds. Materials Experience: fundamentals of materials and design. Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, pp. 135-144. ISBN 9780080993591

Chapman, Jonathan (2013) Emotionally sustainable design In: Walker, S. and Giard, J., eds. The handbook of design for sustainability. Bloomsbury Academic, London, UK, pp. 363-374. ISBN 9780857858528

Chapman, Jonathan (2010) Subject Object Relationships and Emotionally Durable Design In: Cooper, Tim, ed. Longer Lasting Solutions: Advancing Sustainable Development Through Increased Product Durability. Ashgate (Gower), London, UK. ISBN 9780566088087

Chapman, Jonathan (2009) Design for (emotional) durability Design Issues, 25 (4). pp. 29-35. ISSN 0747-9360

Chapman, Jonathan (2009) No Alternative In: Predan, B., Krecic, P. and Subic, S., eds. Sustainable Alternatives in Design. Pekinpah, Slovenia.

Chapman, Jonathan and Gant, Nicholas (2008) 100% Sustainable? Research gathering exhibition, seminar and masterclass (2006, 2007 and 2008) Reed Expo, London, UK.

Chapman, Jonathan (2008) Emotionally Durable Design: Sustaining relationships between users and domestic electronic products Doctoral thesis, University of Brighton.

Chapman, Jonathan (2008) House of Lords evidence paper: waste reduction House of Lords, London, UK.

Chapman, Jonathan (2008) Sustaining Relationships Between People and Things In: Desmet, P., van Erp, J. and Karlsonn, M., eds. Design & Emotion Moves. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, pp. 47-65. ISBN 1443800163

Chapman, Jonathan and Gant, Nicholas (2007) 100% Sustainable? New Design (Issue 54). pp. 34-39. ISSN 14722674

Chapman, Jonathan and Gant, Nicholas (2007) Designers, Visionaries + Other Stories: A Collection of Sustainable Design Essays Earthscan, London, UK. ISBN 9781844074129

Chapman, Jonathan and Gant, Nicholas (2007) Designers, Visionaries and Other Stories: A Collection of Sustainable Design Essays [Edited Collections]

Chapman, Jonathan (2007) Desire, Disappointment and Domestic Waste In: Burton, Millie, ed. Pavilion commissions programme 2007. Pavilion, Leeds, pp. 4-11. ISBN 9780954477547

Chapman, Jonathan (2007) Subject object relationships and emotionally durable design In: Cooper, T, ed. Longer Lasting Solutions. Gower.

Chapman, Jonathan (2006) Emotional Attachment: Developing Lasting Relationships with our Belongings Waste Management World. 47-51. ISSN 14761394

Chapman, Jonathan (2006) Modern Life is Rubbish Blueprint (No 241). pp. 68-71. ISSN 02684926

Chapman, Jonathan (2005) Emotionally Durable Design: Objects, Experiences and Empathy Earthscan, London, UK. ISBN 1844071812

This list was generated on Sun Apr 26 12:22:47 2015 BST.

Single authored books

  • Chapman, J., Emotionally Durable Design: Objects, Experiences and Empathy, Second revised edition, Routledge, Oxford, forthcoming 2015
  • Chapman, J., Emotionally Durable Design: Objects, Experiences and Empathy, Earthscan, London, 2005

Edited books

  • Chapman, J. & Gant, N. (Eds), Designers, Visionaries & Other Stories: A Collection of Sustainable Design Essays, Earthscan, London, 2007

Book sections

  • Chapman, J., 'Designing Meaningful & Lasting User Experiences', in Moran, A. and O'Brien, S. [Eds], Love Objects: Emotion, Design & Material Culture, Bloomsbury, London, 2014
  • Chapman, J., 'Prospect, Seed & Activate', in Fletcher, K. & Tham, M. [Eds] Routledge Handbook of Sustainability and Fashion (Routledge International Handbooks), Routledge, UK, 2014
  • Chapman, J., ‘Design to Reduce the Need to Consume’, in Fashion Futures, The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research (MISTRA), H&M and the Textile Futures Research Group (TFRG), Sweden & UK, May 2013
  • Chapman, J., 'Meaningful Stuff: Towards longer lasting products', in Karana, E., Pedgley, O. & Rognoli, V. [Eds], Materials Experience: Contemporary Issues Connecting Materials and Product Design, Elsevier, Amsterdam, 2013
  • Chapman, J., 'Emotionally Sustainable Design', in Walker, S. & Giard, J. [Eds],The Handbook of Sustainable Design, Berg, London, 2013
  • Chapman, J., ‘Subject Object Relationships and Emotionally Durable Design’, a contributing chapter in Cooper, T. (Ed), Longer Lasting Solutions: Advancing Sustainable Development Through Increased Product Durability, Ashgate, London, 2010
  • Chapman, J., 'No Alternative', in Predan. B., Krecic, P. & Subic, S. (Eds), Sustainable Alternatives in Design, Pekinpah, Slovenia, 2009
  • Chapman, J., ‘Sustaining Relationships Between People and Things’, in Desmet, M. P., van Erp, J. & Karlsonn, M., Design & Emotion Moves, Design & Emotion Society, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2008, pp47-65

Journal articles and conference papers

  • Chapman, J., 'Hadal or Epipelagic: the depths, and shallows, of material experience' presented at the PLATE 2015 (Product Life and the Environment), Nottingham Trent University, (forthcoming) June 2015
  • Chapman, J., ‘Toward a Participatory Culture of DIY, Repair and Deeper Product Usership’, in Fashion Futures, by The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research (MISTRA), H&M and the Textile Futures Research Group (TFRG), Sweden & UK, 2013
  • Chapman, J., ‘Customise’, in Fashion Futures, by The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research (MISTRA), H&M and the Textile Futures Research Group (TFRG), Sweden & UK, 2013
  • Chapman, J., ‘Design to Reduce the Need to Consume’, in Fashion Futures, by The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research (MISTRA), H&M and the Textile Futures Research Group (TFRG), Sweden & UK, 2012
  • Chapman, J., ‘Design for [Emotional] Durability’, Design Issues, vol xxv, Issue 4, Autumn, pp29-35, 2009
  • Guest Editor of the Journal of Engineering Design, under the specialist theme of 'Design & Emotion', Vol 20, Issue 5, 2009
  • Margolin, V., Doordan, D., Brown, B., Woodham, J., Garland, K., Chapman, J., Cooper, R., Lee, S., Salinas, O., Boddington, A., Harper, C. and Pelcl, J., 'Brighton 05-06-07', Design Issues, Winter 2008, Vol. 24, No. 1 , pp91-93
  • Chapman, J., 'Desire, Disappointment and Domestic Waste', in Pavillion Commissions Programme 2007, Pavillion [ISBN 978-0-9544775-4-7], Leeds, pp4-11
  • Chapman, J. and Gant, N., ‘100% Sustainable?’, NewDesign, Issue 54, September, 2007, pp34-39
  • Chapman, J., ‘Modern Life is Rubbish’, Blueprint, No. 241, (April) 2006, pp68-71
  • Chapman, J., ‘Emotionally Durable Design’, Waste Management World, Earthscan, London (Autumn) 2006
  • Chapman, J., ‘Relationships between people and things’, International Conference on Design and Emotion, Proceedings, Design and Emotion Society, Sweden, 2006
  • Chapman, J., ‘Emotionally Durable Design: Sustaining relationships between people and things’, presented at the Countering Consumerism: Religious and Secular Responses Conference, London Metropolitan University, London, 20-22 April, 2006
  • Chapman, J., ‘Subject Object Relationships and Emotionally Durable Design’, EPSRC Network on Product Life Spans Seminar (keynote presentation), Design Council, London (April 11) 2006
  • Chapman, J., Walking on Broken Glass: a special feature exploring the creative application of recycled glass, 'Rematerialse Project' on:, Feb 2002, UK
  • Dehn, J., Ordish, N., & Chapman, J., The Rematerialise Eco Smart Materials Collection, published by The UK Design Council and Kingston University (, UK, Aug 2002

Policy advisory papers

  • United Nations (UN): Chapman, J., in Webb, F. (Ed), ‘Can emotionally durable design prolong use-life and therefore reduce waste?’, Making It, UN, Geneva, April, 2014
  • House of Commons: Chapman, J., in The House of Commons Waste Reduction Debates, 'Design and Longer Lasting Products', London, January, 2009
  • House of Lords: Chapman, J., ‘Evidence Paper’, in the House of Lords, Science and Technology Committee I, Enquiry into Waste Reduction, House of Lords, London, February 2008

Consultancy, training and guest speaking 

Professor Chapman has been invited to deliver lectures, workshops, training and consultancy at over 100 leading universities, global businesses, cultural organisations and policy-making institutions worldwide, including the following recent selection: 
  • Philips Design Research (2014-16) development and delivery of a series of design competitions and staff workshop sessions exploring the mediation and delivery of light as a service, rather than a product; shifting commercial focus from selling 'boxes' to selling experiences, meanings and relationships with customers. We are also co-developing a range of PhD and MA Studentships, developing more circular, service-oriented ways of engaging with light, through the circular economy.
  • Design Council & University of Brighton (2014-ongoing) ‘Sustainable Design Pioneer’  founder and convenor of a 4-day CPD training package, run in partnership with the UK Design Council, designed to advance the way companies, designers and activists think, and act, in the sustainability space.
  • FACHHOCHSCHULE: Salzburg University of Applied Sciences (May, 2014) A training package of workshops, seminars and lectures to academic staff, and postgraduate students, on the Master's program in Design & Product Management. In the same academic year this student/staff community received training from IDEO (US) and Porsche Design (Italy).
  • SONY Europe (November 2013) Invited by SONY to consult on the design and development of mobile communications devices, which follow the principles of emotionally durable design. This research explored the potential of designing emotionally durable characteristics into electronic products. The aim was to reduce waste and enable users to develop deeper and more enduring connections with their products.
  • US Sustainable Furniture Council, North Carolina (September 2013) Invited to deliver a keynote presentation, followed by a design workshop to business leaders in the US furnishing sector. Under the theme of longer lasting furniture, the work package introduced new research in 'fixing, servicing and upgrade' as a commercially viable means to extend the life of products, whilst fostering a deeper emotional connection with the brand.
  • NHS, Brighton (September 2013) Invited to present my research into emotional attachment with products, and the implications of this on the NHS. The invitation is to contribute to one of their 'Grand Rounds', which are attended by NHS senior management, general staff, Dr's and specialist professors.
  • Alfred Dunhill, London (July - August 2013) Invited to participate in a series of panel debates with leading international scholars in the fields of design history, design culture and industrial design; exploring issues of product longevity, tradition, material and narratives, provenance and sustainability with this 120-year-old British brand.
  • D&AD White Pencil Laboratory, London (June 2013) Guest facilitator of an industry-focussed symposium engaging the creative community with changing the sustainable and social change agenda. Other participants include: Jo Confino (Sustainability Editor of The Guardian), Keith Weed (CMO of Unilever), Justin De Kosmovszky (Head of Sustainability at Puma), Lucey Shea (CEO Futtera) and Chris Sherwin (Head of Sustainability at Seymour Powell).
  • RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce), London (April 2013) Invited to participate in a panel discussion with George Monbiot (journalist), Nat Hunter (Director of RSA's 'Great Recovery' programme) and Mark Shayler (renowned eco-innovator); discussing some of the themes at the heart of the Great Recovery.
  • International Image Festival, Manizales, Colombia (April 2013) Invited to present a keynote lecture and workshop on ‘Designing Meaningful & Lasting User Experiences’ at one of the most important events in design and electronic arts in Latin America. Previous keynote speakers have included Richard Buchanan (USA), Victor Margolin (USA), Anna Calvera (Spain), Peter Weibel (Germany), Stelarc (Australia), Lev Manovich (USA), Eduardo Kac (USA/Brasil), Antoni Muntadas (Spain), Laurent Mignonneau (Japan), Christian Huebler-Knowbotic Research (Austria - Germany), Maurice Benayoune (France), Nina Czegledy (Hungary/Canada), Evan Roth-Grafiti Research Lab (USA) and Wendy Chun (USA).
  • Futerra Sustainability Communications, London (February 2013) 'Wine 'n Opine'; invited to present an evening lecture to a world-leading branding and communications agency with clients including Eurostar, Kingfisher, DEFRA, Unilever and UNEP.
  • Victoria & Albert Museum, London (February 2013) 'Design Culture Salon'; invited as speaker/participant in public debate around the convergent role of design and activism; looking at how might design work in synergy with other activist practices? What role do universities and museums have here? How can it work with marginality?
  • Museum of Cultural Heritage of Málaga (University of Málaga - Art History Department) in collaboration with the , Spain (October, 2012) Keynote Speaker at the 'International Conference on Design of Interiors: Objects, Ideas, Poetics'
  • MISTRA (The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research) & the Textile Futures Research Centre (TFRC), Sweden & London (July 2012 - present) Commissioned to research and write a series of texts critiquing exemplary design work from the fashion industry that seeks to extend the life of garments, through emotionally durable design strategies. The results of these texts will form part of an international sustainable fashion exhibition taking place in 2014.
  • British Consulate General, Milan (February, 2012) invited joint presentation with Puma’s Director of Global Design at a conference organised by the Science and Innovation Network of the British Government, based in Milan at the British Consulate General. Developed in partnership with Camera della Moda (Italian Fashion Industry Association), this industry-focused event was attended by representatives from over 200 global brands including Balenciaga, Adidas, Gucci, North Face, Prada, Nike, Ted Baker, Marks & Spencer and Ermenegildo Zegna. 
  • London Design Festival (September 2012) 'Material & Meaning Panel Discussion'; participating in a debate around the relationship between material meanings, and sustainability, as part of the 2012 London Design Festival
  • FitFlop, London, UK (Jan-July 2012) Consultancy to their Executive Management Team, advising on their long-term sustainability and design planning, followed by an 'Emotionally Durable Design 1-Day Workshop' to their Design, Production & Sustainability Teams, exploring ways of extending the longevity of their products, as a strategy for waste reduction, and the fostering of deeper brand loyalty
  • Puma, London, UK (May 2011 - June 2012) consultancy for PUMA; a 4-part knowledge exchange programme with designers and executives from Puma. Entitled ‘The Puma Sustainable Design Collective’, these lectures provided their designers with over 50 practical solutions, tools and methods to enhance the ecological performance of their products and processes. Furthermore, these lectures were filmed, and shown to Puma’s parent company, PPR Group (PPR own a number of other brands including Gucci, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga and Stella McCartney)
  • British Council, Latvia: ‘Sustainable Opportunities Workshop 2011’ (Dec 2011) Organization and running of a 2-day creative workshop for Latvian entrepreneurs, manufacturers and designers, as well as professionals from sustainably and socially responsible fields
  • Clarks International Ltd., Somerset, UK (Sept 2011) Industrially-funded consultancy for Clarks; advising on ways in which sustainability can become embedded at a design level of this leading global brand
  • Ecobuild: ExCel, London, UK (Mar 2011) Panel Member at a seminar debate entitled ‘Do we need another chair?’ at the world's biggest event for sustainable design, construction and the built environment
  • PumaVision, Nuremberg, Germany (Jun 2010) Industrially-funded consultancy for PUMA; advising on ways in which sustainability can become embedded at a design level of this leading global brand
  • House of Lords, London (Feb, 2008) Prof Chapman advised the House of Lords (Science and Technology Sub-Committee I) on issues of product longevity, consumer behaviour and sustainable design within the context of EU environmental legislation, and associated policies 
  • 100% Design, London (2007) Member of the selection committee 
  • The Science Museum, London (2007) Employed as a consultant on the 'Science of Survival' exhibition
  • Arhitekturni muzej Ljubljana (The Architecture Museum Ljubljana), Slovenia (Apr 2008) Keynote speaker at master class with Dieter Rams, Clive Dilnot, Victor Margolyn and Ezio Manzini


  • 100% DESIGN: ‘100% Sustainable?’ Exhibition and 4-day seminar series, delivering and exploring alternative ‘models of sustainable design’, London, UK (Sept 2008)
  • 100% DESIGN: ‘100% Sustainable?’ Exhibition and 4-day seminar series (20 contributors, including Bill Dunster, David Colwell, Jason Bruges, Sprout Design), London, UK (Sept 2007)
  • 100% DESIGN: ‘100% Sustainable?’ Exhibition and seminar event (contributions from Ezio Manzini, Alastair Fuad-Luke, Edwin Datschefski and John Wood), London, UK (Sept 2006) 

Research student supervision 

Current (6)

  • Sargheve Sukumaran (2014-present) Emotionally Durable Electronic Products and Experiences
  • Anja Crabb (2013 – present) Designing for Longer Lasting Material Experiences
  • Gabriel Wulff (2012 – present) Encouraging Cohesive, sustainable communities through Minimal Interventions to Strategic Locations
  • Karen Blincoe (2010 – present) Sustainable Utopias: What are the parameters within which sustainable utopias have been created, how have they impacted on the successes or failures of established utopias, and are the lessons learnt transferable to larger-scale sustainable utopias in the contemporary world?
  • Katie Hill (2007  – present) Design Activation: Enabling socially and environmentally engaged practice in communities
  • Mike Sadd (2007 – present) The Migration of Form: Visual order in the man-made world results from deliberate design and making. But is that the whole story?

Completed (2)

  • Jody Boehnert (2008 – 2012: COMPLETED) Communicating Ecological Literacy: explorations in transferable, effective language
  • Katherine Ladd (2007 – 2012: COMPLETED) A Handmade Future: exploring the impact of design on the production and consumption of contemporary African craft as a tool for sustainable development 

PhD examining experience  

  • Loove Broms (2014) 'Storyforming: Experiments in creating discursive engagements between people, things, and environments', KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden
  • Julie Behseta (2013) 'Futureproof Plastics', Royal College of Art (RCA) London, UK